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Being healthy and fit at this time is essential and Cris Cu debunks myths and addresses the proper way to go about it.

Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the practice of eating healthy and getting fit were mere ideas that some of us may have taken for granted. However, the healthcare crisis remains out of our control, and so strengthening our bodies and boosting our immune system have become absolute necessities. As an advocate of healthy eating and fitness, we talk to Cris Cu to share her knowledge and experiences in taking on this lifestyle.

Fresh greens from Hyperlocal Farms.

Start with an understanding

Cris has always been an active person, but in 2019, she admittedly became passive about working out. She gained weight and started feeling uncomfortable in her clothes. This was when she realized she had to do something about this. “I feel like a lot of people can relate to this and it’s really hard to make a change, but part of it is the openness to change, [commitment], and [having] the right game plan,” she says.

A good way to start is to watch out for our diet. In a series of Instagram stories, Cris talks about the practice of cutting out the intake of carbohydrates or carbs to be fit. Most would immediately associate carbs with rice, flour, or wheat. However, Cris explains there are other forms of carbs. “It also includes sugar, veggies, fruit, nuts, and loads of other food,” she clarifies. “[People] forget to look at the whole picture and wonder why they aren’t losing the weight.” She is also quick to remind people that completely eliminating carbs is not a good idea as these are the body’s main sources of energy and these fuels several bodily functions.

She emphasizes there are two types of carbs. The simplest way to recall is to name them the ‘good’ and the ‘bad.’ What constitutes the bad ones? These are anything heavily processed or far from its natural states such as potato chips, cereals, pasteurized fruit juices, donuts, and white bread. So, refrain from or moderate our consumption of bad carbs especially if the goal is to be fit. Now, what about the good ones? These are your basic, nutrient-dense food like fruits, non-starchy vegetables, oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes, beans, and lentils.

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Korean Chicken bowl with sweet potatoes and greens. Original recipe from Tieghan Gerard (@halfbakedharvest).

Choose fresh and simple

In planning her meals, Cris makes certain these are all good carbs. Recently, she came to love squash, roasting it with olive oil and adding salt and other spices. Apart from squash, she also shares her favorite side dishes like blanched broccoli with sesame oil. “It’s a nice Asian twist and super easy to make,” she says. Another one is sautéed French beans with onions and basil. If we are to recreate this, Cris says to make sure to cook the beans in high heat but for a short time to ensure its crisp quality. These two dishes and a fresh salad using greens from Hyperlocal Farms can go well with any protein course. “I’ve really come to enjoy simple recipes, because not only does it mean [fewer] calories, [but] typically, it also means easier [and] faster to make in the kitchen,” she affirms.

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A homecooked meal featuring Hyperlocal Farms salad, Dapitan Stall 10 salad bowl, Teraoka Farm organic green beans, Kajuayan Japanese sweet potatoes, and Seek the Uniq candle holder.

Stay on track

To accompany losing weight, Cris says, “journaling my food or meals, weighing what I eat, planning my meals, and focusing on consistency over time and not rushing to my goal.” Together with her nutritionist Ida Paras, they “set a daily target for calories and my macro breakdown which provides the framework for how I’ll eat that week.” Identifying the targets allows Cris to better plan her meals while including her cravings as well. For example, she chooses “to have 50g of chocolate which can have 25g or more of carbs or I can have 200g of fresh lettuce which will have 4g of carbs.” It is all about staying within the target and moderating what one eats. Of course, keeping an active lifestyle is also crucial to burn excess fats and keep the body moving.

Apart from consulting a health expert and having the support of family and friends, another way to keep on track is by installing mobile applications. These can help one remember and adjust steps to reaching fitness goals. “MyFitnessPal has been my best friend these past months,” Cris says, “I log every day and it helps me plan what I’ll have for the day. It has one of the most extensive libraries of food.”

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Deep muscle work out at Ritmus Pilates and Wellness. (Photo taken in 2018)

With all the talk about carb-cutting and getting fit, Cris doesn’t forget to remind everyone we have different bodies and responses to what we eat and how we work out. She stresses it is all about listening to our body and doing what it needs for us to be healthy, confident, and happy with ourselves.

You can watch Cris talk about her fitness journey with good friend Kimi Lu through her Instagram Live on September 29 at 8 PM.

Photos from Instagram.

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